Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Internship Developments!

Yesterday, I had a meeting with Grant Maltman over at Banting House - the site of my future (not-so-distant-future) internship.

Several things were accomplished - not quite a finished work plan at this point, but I think I'm well on my way to coming up with something that will a) significantly benefit the national historic site and b) allow me to walk away with a variety of experiences in the small museum field. While it is true that I've already worked in a small museum, a national historic site is slightly different from a county historical society (and not only in prestige).

Grant and I discussed three main projects that we would both like to see develop during my time at Banting House this summer:

1) Installation of PastPerfect Software - How fantastic is it that I've been working on this exact project at the Metras Museum all year? Banting House has ordered the software and is aiming to catalogue their collection in a more efficient database. Since only 10 donations came into the collection last year, we are going to start there and work our way backwards. A major benefit of this process for me would be that most of the collection at Banting House is archival material, so I would be getting that sort of archives experience that I have not had yet in my public history adventures.

2) Banting House Blog - After observing my fabulous display of blogging technique, Grant decided that perhaps it would be beneficial for the museum to have a blog of its own! No, not really - but a blog would be another way for Banting House to get its message "out there" into cyberland. Also, might I add that their website is inconveniently linked through the CDAs site. It's not terribly accessible. It's not terribly helpful. SO...the blog might be a way to keep the public updated about what's going on at the site from month to month.

3) Volunteer Manual Revisions - One thing I have not yet experienced in my museum work is interpretation. I've never guided tours or had to answer questions about the collections I've worked with. This may come as a shock, since I have always had an overwhelming urge to educate. BUT, my background in education will hopefully come in handy in attempting to make the volunteer manuals a little more relevant and a little more user-friendly. I'm hoping to revise the way the information is presented to the volunteers so that they may learn the ropes with less of an overwhelming sensation, and also to perhaps revise the way in which the volunteers think when they are showing people around the house, so that they may present information or ask questions in a more engaging way.

These are only a few ideas that we bounced around yesterday. There's a lot that needs to be done and several ways in which I can help out, I'm sure. I was informed of a few interesting special events going on in July, which would give me some experience with event planning and networking, etc.

Also, I think I'm going to get my hands dirty and volunteer at the house as soon as possible (likely next month)! Saturdays seem to be a problem day for the museum to stay open (which is very unfortunate) and all that's needed is one volunteer to show the house *so if anyone is interested in volunteering at Banting House, the commitment is only 4 hrs a month*

*wink wink*
*nudge nudge*